My First Experience with Builder Gel

Todays post is going to be a little bit different, and probably a little unexpected too, as it involves me falling deeper down the 'gel nails' rabbit hole... something I didn't really see myself ever doing. Before working with Kiki London, I would never have dreamed about putting anything other than traditional nail polish on my nails. It's taken such a long time to get them into decent condition and I'm extremely paranoid about setting them back again. 

However, after having such a fantastic experience with the Kiki London gels, I've decided to go one step further...

After recently chopping my nails down after bashing them about a bit in the garden, I looked into trying out a builder gel. This would help me in a number of ways... Firstly I'd be able to wear 'normal' polish over top of the builder gel, such as my beloved Leighton Denny polishes, but secondly I'd get the added bonus of gel strength to help my nails stay longer for longer. 

My biggest inspiration was Jen from Miss_Sock nails, who has beautiful long nails and who does the most incredible nail art too. I did a little bit of Insta-stalking through her feed to discover which kind of builder gel she uses, and where I could get it from. It didn't take me long to find it - Madam Glam in the colour 'Light Pink', and I could pick it up easily enough here in the UK from the website -

The bottle contains 15ml of gel, and it sets you back £15.99 with the added cost of p&p ranging from £3.85 up to £7.96 (this is an estimate as it is worked out depending on whereabouts you live) depending on how quickly you want it delivering. 

It sounds pretty pricey, to me anyway as a builder gel newbie, I don't think I've ever paid that much for one bottle of polish/gel. However, after much research my mind was put at rest that I wasn't going to go through the bottle in a short period of time as you only need to use the smallest amount. 


First Thoughts

I was quite shocked to see how thick the gel actually is, which is daft really because duh! It's a builder gel! Of course its going to be thick haha! Even so, I found it super easy to apply, and one generous dip into the bottle seemed to do the whole hand. (Be sure to use a gel base coat when working with Builder Gels - these too can be found on Lilly Beau)

I found it to cure perfectly under the lamp for just 1 minute, to an even finish. My nails still looked very natural, it doesn't add too thick of a layer, just enough to add a bit of strength. I chose the colour Light Pink as you can still see your own nail underneath, so it won't disrupt how any of my other swatches will look/change their colour.


To be completely honest, I haven’t had to do much soaking off as the hand sanitiser I use at work is quite strong and lifts nail polish and gels after a short amount of time. This is nothing to do with the quality of the products I’m sharing with you, it’s more the quality of our hand sanitisers at work!

However, I did have a few nails left with this gel on that I could try out the soaking off technique with, and I have to say I experienced no problem at all. I popped my fingers into some pure acetone, soaked for around 20-30 minutes, and used an orange stick to gently scrape away the gel which had turned waxy and soft.

My nails beneath were left looking as healthy as they were before applying the gel, I was quite relieved to see that no damage had been done to my natural nails.

I’ve just placed an order for some of those funky clips you can get to help remove gels… so I’ll let you know if using those helps cut down the amount of time for soaking off in a later post.

I'm looking forward to keeping my nails nice and long for a longer period of time. If you pop on over to LillyBeau's website, you will see that they sell a huge selection of Madam Glam products as well as other brands too ranging from gels to dips, such a large range of goodies to tempt you with. I for one will be making a repurchase of this builder gel, I’m hooked!

Also, why not give Madam Glam a cheeky follow over on Instagram for even more inspiration...

Thank you for reading,

Love, Leanne Xx